The state of Vermont has been overwhelmed by interest in a new renewable energy program that guarantees prices for energy produced from renewable sources like sun, wind, water and methane gas.
Bids opened last Monday and officials received proposals to produce four times the amount of renewable energy they’d targeted – over 200 megawatts (MW) rather than the anticipated 50MW.
“I’m absolutely delighted that what the legislature intended has been delivered beyond my wildest imagination,” Vermont State Representative Tony Klein (Dem) told the Associated Press. Klein chairs the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee and was key in the creation of the renewable energy program.
“Seeing Vermont in the throws of one of the most serious economic periods in its history, to have this economic interest, especially for an electrical generation source that we need, is very thrilling,” said Klein.
Critics, however, suggest the sheer volume of proposals indicates the prices guaranteed to developers – known as feed-in tariffs – are too generous and will result in higher electricity prices for end consumers. Klein, however, told AP the figures were based on lawmakers’ best estimates of the costs of generating various types of renewable power and can be changed later by the Public Service Board.
Prices ranged from 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for power made by burning methane from landfills to up to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar power.
Solar power dominated the first round of bidding, accounting for 196 proposals, compared to under 15 for each of the other five technologies.